TOWSON, Md. (AP) — Baltimore County officials say that they’ve planted the first 300 trees as part of a goal to plant 5,000 in honor of Earth Day 2021 in April.

The county issued a news release Monday saying that 325 trees were planted at apartment and townhome complexes in Cockeysville, Dundalk and Essex in partnership with a local property owner.

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The news release said the trees were planted by contractors working for the county as part of its Tree Canopy Expansion program.

The county says the trees help reduce runoff into the Chesapeake Bay and also provide other environmental benefits.

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The program lets property owners sign up to have trees planted by county crews at no cost.

“We remain committed to building and innovating toward a cleaner, greener and more sustainable Baltimore County. Like many jurisdictions, Baltimore County’s tree canopy has diminished over the decades, and tree plantings on private property is an important tool to combat climate change, strengthen environmental resiliency and help beautify our neighborhoods,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

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